Willow Avenue has been an unfinished bottleneck through northwest Clovis for years, but the city is now preparing to widen the heavily traveled roadway from two to three lanes.
The first step is a quarter-mile stretch north of Alluvial Avenue that will allow traffic to flow in three lanes north to Shepherd Avenue. For now, it’s a two-lane merge on one of the busiest northbound streets in the city. About 12,000 vehicles travel through the northbound intersection each day.
“This will fill in a much-needed gap,” said Dwight Kroll, Clovis planning director. “If it was the normal course of development, it may have been done 10 to 15 years ago, the same age of development that sits around that corner.”
The project has stalled mostly because a four-acre piece of land on the northeast corner of Alluvial and Willow avenues remains vacant.
There still are no plans for the land, but Kroll notes renewed interest in the property recently.
If the land was developed, the city would get development fees to pay for roads and other nearby infrastructure affected by the project.
But when the property didn’t develop, the city was left without fees to widen the road.
This will fill in a much-needed gap.
Dwight Kroll, Clovis planning director
The center line of Willow Avenue separates the cities of Clovis and Fresno.
To pay for the $240,000 project, the city got grant funding from Measure C and federal programs to ease congestion and help air quality.
The funds will include money for street lighting, sidewalks, sewer and water, said City Engineer Mike Harrison. The project will start within a few weeks and should be done by the end of summer.
A project to add two more miles of three-lane traffic will get underway in late 2018 on northbound Willow Avenue between Shepherd and Copper Avenues. The road project will coincide with plans Clovis has to grow into its new northwest project area.
Council Member Bob Whalen, who frequently travels the Willow and Alluvial avenues intersection, said it can be difficult to navigate during rush hours.
“As soon as you get through that intersection there is a little bit of confusion when you have three lanes collapsing into two lanes and a turn lane at Alluvial,” he said.